As president of the California Chapter of the National Association of Royalty Owners, I have seen the past and recent actions of Gov. Gavin Newsom and his administration are deeply troubling. These actions not only undermine the property rights of hundreds of thousands of private citizens in California who own oil and gas minerals and royalties but also pose a threat to economic stability. in California.
The recent case filed by Uduak-Joe Ntuk, the former oil and gas supervisor of the state of California, serves as a shining example. Ntuk alleged that he was terminated by Newsom after filing a whistleblower complaint regarding the legality of the suspension of all new oil drilling permits throughout the state without proper statutory authority and unconstitutionally implementing Senate Bill 1137. These measures of the administration are alarming for many reasons.
The issue raises questions about the legality and transparency of the governor’s actions. If Ntuk’s allegations are true, the administration is acting without proper legal authority and undermining the will of California voters, effectively sidelining laws intended to govern critical sectors. This sets a dangerous precedent that could affect all industries in California, not just mineral and royalty owners.
Additionally, the governor’s actions have a direct impact on mineral and royalty owners like me. Senate Bill 1137, which aims to ban drilling within 3,200 feet of homes, schools, or other places of assembly, is still awaiting a voter referendum in November 2024. Despite the upcoming election, the administration seems to be out of time to implement its provisions. This overreach not only threatens the income and assets of mineral and royalty owners but also has broader economic and local implications for workers.
By halting new drilling permits, the state risks losing valuable revenue streams that fund public services and infrastructure. The oil and gas sector is a significant contributor to California’s economy, and any sudden changes could lead to job losses and reduced state revenue. This is especially concerning given the current economic climate and the need for a stable source of funding.
Additionally, the administration’s actions could discourage future investment in California’s energy sector. If the state is so quick to ignore legal processes and the rights of stakeholders, what message will it send to any potential investors? This may lead to a decrease in investment in all types of energy projects, which will worsen the economic instability of the state.
The actions of Newsom and his administration raise serious concerns about governance, legality, economic stability, and the constitutionality of those actions. As a mineral and royalty owner and a concerned citizen, I urge the state to reconsider its approach and act within the bounds of the law, respecting the rights and contributions of all stakeholders.